In 1981, the Northwest Arkansas community gathered to discuss a challenge: lack of adequate child care services. The need for both parents to work and single parent households were on the rise, but early childhood options were not. Through the vision, financial support, and hard work of Mrs. Walton and other community leaders, the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center opened its doors on September 7, 1982.

The Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center is a Northwest Arkansas nonprofit organization providing high quality early childhood education for children age six weeks to pre-kindergarten.

Our classrooms have ratios far lower than state mandates and are staffed with experienced and degreed teachers. Parents are provided substantial support services such as a parent resource library, community resources, food assistance and access to early childhood professionals who provide information and activities regarding Kindergarten Readiness Indicators. Our scholarship program ensures that high quality early childhood experiences are available to all members of our community.

Our Mission

Children are our first priority! Our commitment is to provide families access to the highest quality of early childhood education and care.

Helen’s vision was to provide all children with access to
high-quality care and education. This new facility will have
far-reaching impact on children at the Center and also
offer training to other childcare centers, thereby raising
the quality of childcare and education programming
throughout Northwest Arkansas.
— Lynne Walton, Walton Family Foundation

Our Approach

Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center takes a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of young children. Essential components of our approach are:


We use a research-based curriculum and developmental assessment tool to ensure every child is progressing in all areas of development in a smaller classroom environment.  Additionally, we will offer a new facility that is a learning tool in and of itself. Finally, we invest in the teacher, ensuring we have well-educated and experienced teachers supporting our young students.


We provide health services such as nutritional services, vision and developmental screenings, and a healthy, chemical free environment in the new facility.

Family Partnerships

We act as a partner with the family and provide individualized services that are respectful of each family’s culture and child rearing practices. We bring the family together through events, have a Parent Advisory Committee and opportunities to serve on our Board of Directors.

Social Services

Thanks to our vast community network, we can connect parents to resources such as job placement, financial support, counseling, food assistance, housing and more to meet the individual needs of the family.


We follow best business practices within our field and focus on continuous improvement. 

Our Values


Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center is dedicated to the well being of children six weeks through pre-kindergarten. We consider the needs of the whole child: social, emotional, physical, and cognitive. We understand that an investment in young children is the best investment for the future of our community.


Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center adheres to high ethical and professional standards in work and relationships. We are fair and respectful in our interactions with families and early childhood professionals. HWCEC is a conscientious steward of the resources entrusted to us.


Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center strives to improve upon our services to deliver the highest quality of care and education. We leverage expertise and resources for the greatest impact on young children in Northwest Arkansas.


Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center encourages initiative and leadership, and strives to be a model nonprofit organization. We use a collaborative approach with families, early childhood partners, and donors to improve early childhood services and community awareness.


At Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, we believe that families win when everyone matters, and that the true strength of diversity is unleashed when each child and early childhood professional is encouraged to reach their full potential. Diversity then becomes the foundation for an inclusive, sustainable childcare center that embraces and respects differences, develops our teachers, serves our families, and partners with our community.

2019 Fiscal Budget

Total Budget: $3,721,300